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Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

The Local Italy
The Local Italy - [email protected]
Today in Italy: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
A farmer sits in his tractor in the outskirts of Rome on February 4th 2024. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Farmers protest in central Rome, Italy investigates major data breach allegations, and more news from around Italy on Friday.

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Italy's top news story on Friday:

Rome was braced for protests by farmers this weekend, with some 1,500 tractors originally slated to take part in demonstrations in the capital beginning on Friday which protesters said would “definitely” cause widespread disruption.

The protests were planned following a wave of agricultural protests across Europe, with similar demonstrations in Spain leading to the third consecutive day of roadblocks on Thursday.

But after days of negotiations with city health and safety authorities, the Italian demonstrations will not involve driving hundreds of tractors through central Rome as planned, nor are they expected to bring the capital's ring road to a standstill.

Instead, around 1,500 farmers and 10 of the over 500 tractors parked just outside the city will be allowed to gather in Rome’s central Piazza San Giovanni at 10am on Friday, according to local media reports. 

Some roads in the capital may be temporarily closed on Friday morning to allow the tractors to reach the square.

However, one group of protesting farmers has said it will drive tractors "freely on the streets of Rome" on Saturday unless they are granted a meeting with Italy's agriculture minister, Francesco Lollobrigida, news agency Ansa reported. 

Italy investigates claims police illegally shared drivers’ data with UK

The Italian data protection watchdog was reportedly investigating allegations made by Belgian, Dutch and German authorities that Italian police had shared EU drivers’ names and addresses with a UK firm collecting driving penalties.

The accusations, which could represent a major EU-wide scandal, were reported on Thursday as part of an ongoing investigation by UK newspaper The Guardian into how EU drivers’ data was obtained for the collection of fines in London’s ultra-low emission zones (Ulez).

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Transport for London (TfL) denied the accusations, saying Euro Parking, the company collecting fines on its behalf, confirmed it had not used an Italian police department to access driver details.

READ ALSO: How drivers of Italian cars can avoid fines in London's low emissions zones

Following Brexit, EU citizens’ personal data is no longer accessible by UK authorities except in criminal offence cases; breaching Ulez rules is a civil offence.

Euro Parking has reportedly issued more than 330,000 penalties since the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020.

Italy accused of breaching EU wildlife conservation rules

The European Commission (EC) has opened an infringement procedure against Italy for failing to adequately monitor and prevent the accidental capture and killing of dolphins, turtles and seabirds during fishing activities, news agency AFP reported.

Rome was accused of non-compliance with the 1992 Habitats Directive, which sets out a series of measures aimed at protecting over a thousand animal species and some 230 habitat types.

Brussels has additionally claimed that national authorities failed to keep a number of marine species and seabirds from being disturbed in sites previously destined for their conservation.

Italy now has two months to respond to the complaints, after which the EC could escalate the procedure.

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